Dining Etiquette: What to Do (And Not to Do) on Your Next Business Dinner

Bon Appétit! 

Gathering around a table for a meal can reveal a lot about a person. We each have routines and patterns when eating, but do they reflect proper dining etiquette? 

Dining etiquette may also vary from one culture to the next.

For example, religious families will pray before eating. If you’re over for dinner and begin eating right away, they may feel offended. 

To truly be a success at your next business dinner, you’ll need to know what to do and what not to do. 

Read on to discover more about business dining etiquette.

Do’s and Don’t’s of Business Dining Etiquette

Are you new to the business world? Or, are you meeting with a client from a different country? Explore the following do’s and don’t’s of business dining etiquette to ensure you’re a success.

Do Complete Research

Call the restaurant in advance to learn more about the menu. If your guests have any dietary restrictions, make sure the restaurant can accommodate them. You should also check out the prices, so no one is surprised by the bill.

Do Wait to Chow Down

Wait until everyone receives their meal before eating. If a meal needs to go back, then wait until your guest says it’s okay to start eating. Provide your guests with the same courtesy and instruct them to begin eating if it’s your meal that needs to be returned. 

Do Leave Your Phone in Your Pocket

Ideally, you should leave your phone in your hotel room or in your car. Buzzing, bings, and ringtones cause distractions. If you use your phone during the meal, then expect your business associate to be offended. 

Give your guests your full attention.

Do Allow the Host to Pay

The host is the one who invites everyone else to dinner. The host should pay for the meal and make all of the dinner reservations. If you aren’t the host, allow them to pay unless another agreement was made beforehand.

Don’t Treat the Waitstaff Disrespectfully 

Don’t call out to waitstaff from across the restaurant or tap them on the shoulder. Always be courteous to your waiter and treat them as you would your business client. Say, “please” and “thank you,” and leave them a generous tip unless it’s not customary to do so. 

Don’t Dress Inappropriately

Call ahead to the restaurant to learn more about their dress code. The Roof Restaurant buffet, for example, will require different attire than a diner. 

Share this information with your guests, so they don’t show up wearing something inappropriate. For business dinners, it’s always a wise choice to wear at least business casual attire.

Don’t Order More

It’s understandable that you want to try out a variety of dishes. But, your business dinner is for business. It’s not an opportunity for you to taste test and indulge. 

If you’re the host, ask if your business associates want to try an appetizer. As a rule of thumb, always order the same amount as them and try to stick to a similar price point. 

Business Dining Etiquette: Always Use Your Manners

Business dining etiquette is all about using your manners. Always keep the needs and interests of others before your own when out with business associates. 

Want to learn more about business attire? Check out our blog posts to learn more.